Thabo Mbeki

Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki was born on June 18 1942 in South Africa. He is a South African politician who served as President of South Africa from 1999. Last week, September 20, he announced he would resign after a call by the African National Congress' National Executive Committee.

The next day, in an address to the nation, he announced that he had handed in his letter of resignation to the speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa. Born and raised in Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, Mbeki is one of four children of Epainette and Govan Mbeki.

His father was in support of the African National Congress (ANC) the South African Communist Party. Mbeki describes himself as "born into the struggle"; a portrait of Karl Marx sat on the family wall album, and a portrait of Mohandas Gandhi was on the wall.

Mbeki has been a notably powerful figure in African politics, positioning South Africa as a regional power broker and also promoting the idea that African political conflicts should be solved by Africans. He headed the formation of both the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the African Union (AU) and played a big role, as a mediator, in settling the Zimbabwean crises.

He led Robert Mugabe of Zanu-PF, and Morgan Tsvangirai of Movement for Democratic Change to finally sign the power-sharing agreement where both parties will lead Zimbabwe.

Jean-Louis Kayitenkore
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